Tsarnaev supporters donating money while sister arrested for drugs

A look at the Tsarnaev family since the Boston Marathon bombings. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013 — It has been almost two months since the Boston Marathon Bombing reminded the nation of how fragile life can be.

At 2:49 p.m., two pressure cooker bombs went off, killing three people and injuring 264 near the finish line. The Federal Bureau of Investigation took over the case, and within three days the world learned the names Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

SEE RELATED: The Tsarnaev women: In deep denial over Boston bombings

This week, Erika Brannock, a 29 year old preschool teacher and the last victim remaining in the hospital was released. She had endured 11 surgeries as doctors tried to save one of her badly damaged legs after the other had been amputated at the knee. Brannock, a Maryland resident, had been in Boston that day to cheer for her mother, who was running what was expected to be her last marathon.

The hearts and prayers of a nation went out to Brannock as she was wheeled out of the hospital and into her future.

The same week, news of the Tsarnaev family was being reported with a phone call from Dzhokhar to his mother.

On April 26, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was moved from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the Federal Medical Center at Fort Devens, located about 40 miles from Boston. FMC at Devens is a federal prison medical facility that used to be an Army base. Tsarnaev is being held in solitary confinement at a segregated housing unit under 23-hours-per-day lockdown.

SEE RELATED: From Oswald to Tsarnaev where do you bury the infamous

Tsarnaev’s parents have reported that their son is being allowed to call them once a month from prison.

The first of these phone calls revealed some curious information.  During the call, the 19-year-old spoke of his supporters, according to ABC News.

Tsarnaev reportedly told his mother that people are sending him money and that someone opened a bank account for him.

When his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, asked if he is in pain, Tsarnaev replied in Russian: “No, of course not. I’m already eating and have been for a long time,” according to a translation by Channel 4 in the UK, which first aired the audio. “They are giving me chicken and rice now, everything is fine,” he said.

Tsarnaev also told his mother that he has received at least a “thousand” dollars in a bank account that someone opened for him since his arrest. The mother says the family has received $8,000 from individuals pledging their support, according to Channel 4.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said Dzokhar spent much of the call trying to calm her down.

Anzor and Zubidat, the parents of the Tsarnaev brothers, have been vocal since the death on one son and arrest of the other.

“I loved the USA. I really did,” said Anzor Tsarnaev, “I loved the USA. Until it killed my son.”

As Tamerlan, the older Tsarnaev brother, was shot and fell to the ground, Dzhokhar drove off and smashed through the police lines. On his way he ran over his brother, dragging him, tumbling, under the car. Tamerlan was pronounced dead in hospital.

It’s an account that Anzor can’t accept. For him and his wife Zubeidat, their son Tamerlan is the man who is seen in local TV footage being led away, naked, by police at around 1 a.m. on the morning of April 19. Police say the man was found close to the scene during the search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after he had made his getaway. He was stripped for fear he might be carrying explosives. Poring over the local TV footage, the Tsarnaevs are adamant that the man is their son.

“I am a mother. I would know my own son anywhere,” said Zubeidat.

Since the Tsarnaev’s adamantly believe that their older son was alive when taken in to police custody, to them it means that the morgue photo which shows Tamerlan bloodied and butchered was the result of the police.

“Look at what they did to my son!” cried Anzor. “They must have cut and hacked him, then hung him upside down. Look at the blood that’s run to his neck and head.”

The police have yet to release the identity of the naked man taken away from Watertown.

Anzor and Zubeidat may soon have another child in an American jail.

On Tuesday, May 28, Bella Tsarnaeva, the sister of the accused bombers, pleaded not guilty to drug charges in Hackensack, New Jersey. Tsarnaeva, 24, was arrested in December 2012 at her Fairview, New Jersey, apartment after police responded to a call about a domestic disturbance and found what they said was marijuana, said her attorney, Mario Blanch.

The Record said police searched the apartment after smelling marijuana and that Tsarnaeva was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Her live-in boyfriend, Ahmad Khalil, also pleaded not guilty to the same charge on Tuesday.

Tsarnaeva’s attorney has applied for her to be part of a program that would enable her to avoid a criminal record if she stays out of trouble for 12 months.

“She is a young woman, 24 years old, and through no fault of her own, she has been thrust into a public spotlight,” Blanch said. “This has been a huge tragedy for this country, and it has also been a huge tragedy for my client.”

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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.


Contact Susan L Ruth


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